When Jan Christenson and Rick Ukena bought their house at 445 Thimbleberry in 2008, it was surrounded by lawn and a few trees.
Today, there’s no lawn, but there are 11 new trees (shantung maples and heritage birch, mugo pine, gingko, eucalyptus, yellowwood, perotia), shrubs (artemesia, lilac, elderberry, thimbleberry, smoke bush, cistus), flowers (helibore, peonies, wallflowers, gaura and gaillardia), many different ground covers, including mock strawberry, wild sunflowers, herbs, a small cactus garden, a small, deer-proof raised bed — even bonsai.
The wrap-around garden is accented by whimsical, custom-made pavers and garden goddesses, a delightful water feature, bird bath, rocks from various trips around the West, driftwood sculptures accented by antique metal objects, a mini dry riverbed, and meandering pathways. The lawn was used as a medium for creating berms surrounding the dry creek. All this on a corner lot that’s just .15 acres.
Tucked away from view are two small private gardens, one with a hot tub and 20- foot-tall Nordmann fir trees that doubles as a dog run. The patio garden off the kitchen includes raised vegetable beds, canna lilies, large pots with abelia and jade, a maple tree, and various potted flowering plants.
Jan designed the garden with Zack Williams of Regenesis, who created the hardscape. These days, Rick does most of the heavy digging, while Jan continues with design.
Jan and Rick moved from Portland, where they had a huge double urban lot. “I must say, we so much enjoy managing a smaller landscape area,” says Jan.
You can see this garden any time at the corner of Thimbleberry and Starflower. On Friday, June 14, Jan will be on hand from 10-12 to show you the private gardens and answer any questions.
— Julia Sommer